Trump news: White House reveals new rules to keep impoverished immigrants out of US, as Epstein autopsy results expected amid deluge of conspiracy theories

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Joe Sommerlad, Chris Riotta
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Donald Trump - currently on holiday at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey - has again stoked controversy by retweeting unfounded conspiracy theories about the apparent suicide of billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in a New York jail cell on Saturday.

Democratic 2020 contenders Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker have led the condemnation of the president, accusing him of seeking to divert attention from the bad press he suffered in the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings by giving oxygen to unfounded rumours linking Epstein, a former friend of Mr Trump himself, to his precursor in the White House, Bill Clinton.

The White House has meanwhile introduced tough new immigration measures that could deny visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people for being too poor.

The White House administration announced it was moving forward with one of its most aggressive steps yet to restrict legal immigration, denying green cards to many migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

Federal law already requires those seeking to become permanent residents and gain legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the US — a “public charge,” in government speak — but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.

It’s part of a dramatic overhaul of the nation’s immigration system that the administration has been trying to put into place.

While much of the attention has focused on Mr Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the new change targets people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status.

It's also part of an effort to move the US to a system that focuses on immigrants’ skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh public assistance along with other factors such as education, household income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.

The rules will take effect in mid-October. They don’t apply to US citizens, even if the US citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.

The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, said the rule change fits with the Republican president’s message.

“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” Mr Cuccinelli said. “That’s a core principle of the American dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”

Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load

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